web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



From Darkness To Light

Lessons-logo

Share Button

Aseres Yemei Teshuvah.

The mere mention of these three potent words invariably strikes fear into the hearts and souls of God-fearing Jews everywhere. Each weekday morning, the piercing cry of the shofar penetrates our collective consciousness and urges us to mend our ways, repent our transgressions and return wholeheartedly to our Father in Heaven.

For me, all of the above ring true every year – without fail. However, there is inevitably another stark image that is conjured up as well whenever I hear those three awe-inspiring words. They take me back 30 years to a very pivotal and grueling 10-day period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, one that will no doubt remain ingrained in my memory forever.

Baruch Hashem, I had been happily married for a few years and was the mother of an adorable toddler. We were living in Eretz Yisrael and, despite the challenges of being thousands of miles from family and friends, we felt very blessed indeed. Our bechor was quite a handful, but charming and endearing at the same time. In short, all was well in the world.

Well, almost. Only one recurring concern marred our otherwise blissful existence and threatened to inject an insidious undercurrent of discontent into the perfect pattern of our daily lives: Despite our fervent desire for more children, our son remained an only child.

Following month after month and year after year of disappointment, my pregnancy test yielded a positive result at long last. We were going to be parents once again! Our joy knew no bounds. Alas, it was pitifully short-lived. Almost immediately after receiving the results, complications set in, and my OB/GYN decided that I had to be hospitalized in the interim so that my condition could be monitored on a daily basis.

That is how I ended up spending the solemn period of Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, embarking on a life-altering journey – although I was physically ensconced in a hospital bed in the maternity ward of a Jerusalem hospital. In retrospect, it was definitely the “Ten Days of Teshuvah” that most epitomized the title and function of those holy days.

I was confined to bed for the entire time, allowed to rise only to shower and use the facilities. Other than during daily visits from my husband and son, and occasionally from other relatives, I spent virtually all my waking hours with a book in my hands – most often a siddur or Sefer Tehillim. And I davened with every fiber of my being, with tears rolling down my cheeks and genuine love and devotion in every word I uttered. Never before or since have I felt the awe and sanctity of those days in such a literal sense. It was an opportunity for the most exalted form of closeness and cleansing; I poured my entire neshamah into every word of every tefillah. And I felt Hashem’s presence so distinctly, a literal manifestation of “Shivisi Hashem l’negdi tamid.”

I have retained a few isolated, albeit crystal-clear, memories from those long-ago days. Most vivid among them was when our beloved aunt arrived one day wearing sunglasses to hide her unbridled emotions as she shared with me her own painful experiences from decades earlier. Then there was the anonymous roommate, experiencing her own pregnancy-related issues, who became a dear friend and confidante for decades after we bid farewell to those stark hospital corridors.

After the prescribed week and a half, it was all over. The 10 days had come to an end and almost immediately I was granted my reply. Sadly, it was not the response I was hoping for, not the reward I had envisioned. At the same time, I felt totally secure in the knowledge that this painful and unhappy outcome had come directly from the One Above. I knew that my tefillos and bakashos had been as sincere as humanly possible and had transformed me in the course of a mere week and a half to a better, more refined version of my previous self. I was likewise certain that it was not even remotely coincidental that my personal nisayon coincided precisely with the holiest days of the Jewish calendar.

While I was pained and disappointed that the child I dreamt for was no more, I exulted in the new improved me that had emerged as a result of my struggles. My arms remained achingly empty for now, but my heart and soul were full to overflowing with love and gratitude to my Creator and Judge.

My newfound perspective cast its rosy hues on the coming days and weeks, despite the heartache I had endured. And then, less than two months after my tragic loss, I was blessed with wonderful news. My ill-fated pregnancy had corrected an undiagnosed hormonal imbalance, and paved the way for future healthy pregnancies and babies. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of my dashed hopes and dreams, joy and wellbeing rose majestically and soared heavenward.

We were soon blessed with another beautiful son, followed over the years by many other Divine gifts of healthy sons and daughters. There were the inevitable bumps and detours along the way, including other losses and disappointments. But the Heavenly intuition I was privileged to glimpse while confined to that narrow hospital bed during that long-ago Aseres Yemei Teshuvah has remained with me in the ensuing decades – to light my way and illuminate my blessings.

From some of the darkest days of misery and uncertainty emerged the blindingly beautiful light of celebration and triumph.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “From Darkness To Light”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Judaism Stories
Reiss-041814-King

Amazingly, each and every blade was green and moist as if it was just freshly cut.

PTI-041814

All the commentaries ask why Hashem focuses on the Exodus as opposed to saying, “I am Hashem who created the entire world.”

Leff-041814

Someone who focuses only on the bones of the Torah makes his bones dry and passionless.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

“Who is wise? One who learns from each person” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

In Judaism, to be without questions is a sign not of faith, but of lack of depth.

“I’ll try to help as we can,” said Mr. Goodman, “but we already made a special appeal this year. Let me see what other funds we have. I’ll be in touch with you in a day or two.”

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.”

Reckoning Time
‘Three Festivals, Even Out Of Order’
(Beizah 19b)

Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

More Articles from Naama Klein
Lessons-Emunah-logo

Predictably, my husband agrees and is fine with either night. But after reminding him that he steadily delivers a shiur in his shul on Tuesday nights, he chooses Wednesday, offering a topic related to the Four Sons of Haggadah fame.

Lessons-logo

The exact details of that nocturnal levayah have long since faded from my memory. However, one poignant story shook me to the core of my being – and remains with me still.

Once again neither of us had the tickets, but this time we knew to follow the unusual protocol and pick up our tickets at the airline counter. So we dutifully waited in line and requested our tickets. This time, however, no tickets awaited us.

We had inadvertently parked in the lot of a nearby church…

I have always told my husband that Hashem apparently loves him very much. And I have even proven my theory by citing the fact that Hashem, in His infinite goodness, gave him me! My husband usually agreed with the first part of the statement.

Every Sukkos, at the end of a fun action-packed day at the park, we would gather our happy, albeit exhausted, children and prepare for the long ride home. Needless to say, the first item on the list was a visit to the restrooms. This became our yearly routine and the kids would comply without protest, often before being reminded.

The incessant loud knocking on the door startled me from my brief reverie. My husband had left to attend a chassanah in Yerushalayim just moments earlier, the kids were comfortably tucked into bed, and I was spending a quiet evening at home tackling sundry neglected tasks. The sudden pounding and muffled voices soon interrupted my plans for the lonely hours that beckoned. I hurried to answer the door while drying my hands on a kitchen towel haphazardly draped over my shoulder.

Aseres Yemei Teshuvah.

The mere mention of these three potent words invariably strikes fear into the hearts and souls of God-fearing Jews everywhere. Each weekday morning, the piercing cry of the shofar penetrates our collective consciousness and urges us to mend our ways, repent our transgressions and return wholeheartedly to our Father in Heaven.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/from-darkness-to-light/2013/08/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: